Image Nation Abu Dhabi’s acclaimed feature film Scales is now screening in cinemas across the United States, making it the first United Arab Emirate film to have a commercial release in the US. The film is screening at the IFC Center in New York and Laemmle cinemas in Los Angeles.
Through the allegorical, magical-realist tale of Hayat, a young girl who refuses to be sacrificed to mysterious sea creatures by her village, Scales explores the changing role of women in society. Presented in black and white, the poetic film follows the unfolding social, familial, and personal consequences of Hayat’s choice to defy tradition and walk her own path.
The film stars newcomer Basima Hajjar as Hayat, alongside Ashraf Barhom (Coriolanus, Clash of the Titans, The Kingdom), Yagoub Alfarhan (Ekhtraq, Bedoon Filter, Love Without Limits) and Fatima Al Taei (star of Image Nation’s courtroom drama Justice). The film was produced by Paul Miller and Stephen Strachan of Abu Dhabi-based Film Solutions and Rula Nasser of Imaginarium Films, with executive producers Mohamed Al-Daradji and Majid Al-Ansari.
The public launch was complemented by a series of screenings held in partnership with the Consulate General of the UAE in New York and LA to invite dignitaries and members of the cultural and creative industries to celebrate the film’s release.
The debut feature film by Saudi writer and director Shahad Ameen, Scales was produced by Image Nation Abu Dhabi. Saudi Arabia selected the film as its national submission to the Oscars following a multi-award-winning global festival season, including receiving the Best Film and Best Actress awards this week at the Saudi Film Festival.
The film premiered in 2019 at the Venice International Film Festival Critics’ Week, where it won the prestigious Verona Film Club award for its innovative filmmaking and has since been shown at more than a dozen competitive global festivals in cities such as London, Los Angeles, Carthage, Cairo, and Singapore where it was awarded Best Picture, as well as regional festivals including Al Ain Film Festival and Saudi Film Festival. It saw a successful run in Saudi cinemas.